Cover photo for William  Caldwell  Tatum 's Obituary
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1924 William 2023

William Caldwell Tatum

January 12, 1924 — July 4, 2023

Durham - William Caldwell "Bill" Tatum, age 99, died on July 4, 2023. A Durham native and lifelong resident, Bill had an encyclopedic knowledge of the city. He enjoyed meeting people, watching the evolving history of the area, and could tell you the best eating establishments around. To newcomers, he would smile and greet them, ask where they were from and engage in some friendly conversation with them. He was like a welcoming ambassador. He would ask them to tell their story and he would tell them a story. He loved telling stories.

As a young boy, his family lived in the countryside and he enjoyed rambling through the woods with his trusty slingshot and later, squirrel hunting.

Growing up in Durham, he helped his father Emmet Tatum deliver heating oil as he worked for M.M. Fowler. The son of Emmet and Viola Tatum, he had sisters Dahlia Crim and Sylvia Cheek, and a brother Bernice Tatum. He graduated from Bethesda High School and studied in an engineering drafting course at Duke University, as well as studied at NCSU.

He met and married Inez Grady Tatum when they both worked at Wright Machinery Company. He was a loving father to three children: sons Howard and Scott and daughter Marty. He designed and had a house built on Wofford Road (near the golf course) and the family enjoyed a great neighborhood.

Bill was employed by the City of Durham and later by IBM in mechanical design. After retirement from IBM he enjoyed his lifelong love of golf. He was part of a group of golfers called the DAWGs, playing locally and traveling to some of their favorite courses.

Loving family: Son Howard and wife Tammy, grandson Josh and wife Missy, great granddaughters Parker and Jordan; Son Scott and wife Kendrick, granddaughter Paige; Daughter Marty, grandsons Adze and Nick, great granddaughter Skylar and great grandson Dylan.

Bill will be missed by everyone who knew him. He was that kind of guy.

A private family graveside service will be held at Maplewood Cemetery, Section 3.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of William Caldwell Tatum , please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

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Monday, July 10, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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